An Unscheduled Life

£ 9.00 each


unscheduledBkcover300Words by Joseph Horgan Pictures by Brian Whelan

Agenda Editions

28 poems composed by award winning Irish Poet Joseph Horgan, each accompanied with a drawing by Brian.


'Nothing lights up a yard like the moon'- that line did me good and I'll be reading more of An Unscheduled Life for similar lyric flashes.' - Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature

'a handsomely produced collaboration…Whelan’s pen and ink drawings have a life of their own and do not in any way merely illustrate the poems…In poems that have the lyricism of Paul Eluard and the solipsistic austerity of Samuel Beckett, Joseph Horgan has created a vision of the city that is unique, memorable and disconcerting.'  David Cooke, Poet and Literary Critic

'Every poem and picture works closely together like sections of a puzzle joining the fragmentary lives that exist on the edge of society. The combination makes for a haunting book with every poem and drawing enhancing the view of the other's perspective. Whelan’s lively illustrations - there’s one on each left-hand of the page - embody a childlike flamboyancy, many of them displaying a dashed-off panache as if scribbled quickly on the back of a napkin. These aspects are what give this book its unique and moving aesthetic. This is poetry and visual art working at its best together.  …a book of great heart and subtlety.'  Adam Wyeth, Poet and Literary Critic

Often, Horgan writes in a blunt free verse, but there’s a ballad-like quality to many of his poems too, with certain lines repeating almost like choruses.  Another musical analogue that comes to mind is the song “Working Class Hero” by Liverpool-Irishman John Lennon, with its bitter lyrics describing exactly the sort of upbringing that Horgan reflects in An Unscheduled Life.  He often matches Lennon’s irony in these angry but satisfying poems.  Paired with Whelan’s drawings, which are occasionally reminiscent of Picasso’s, they make for one hell of a little book.  When it ends (and it goes quickly, half of its 61 pages being poetry and the other half the artwork) with the tight, compact, alliterative “Last orders,” you just might want to start over from page one. Michael S Begnal, Poet and Literary Critic

“He goes to dark, grim places, places that in the modern world we like to pretend don’t exist and when he gets there he cracks jokes. This work is the work of the medieval jester.”
Joe Horgan, Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award winner

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''Clear, strong, prayerful work, with joy at its centre.''
Art critic Sister Wendy Beckett

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“Looking at a Whelan painting is like looking at a stained glass window, through the eyes of Bart Simpson.”
Writer and critic Steven Martin

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